With our hours of daylight leaving a lot to be desired in January, chances are that when you're at home, you need the lights on. Artificial lighting isn't often given the same praise as its natural counterpart, but it's an important part of our lives at this time of year, and so we should consider whether we're using it to full effect in our homes.
The Scandinavians, with even darker winters than us, know the importance of layered lighting in a room to combat the gloom outside. It creates a feeling of warmth and calm, in the way that one harsh overhead light cannot.
Here are some tips to make your home feel cosy and relaxing during the winter months with clever lighting.
Light areas, not a whole room
An overhead light hung inches from the ceiling is almost never the best solution for your room. It creates a harsh light that is too bright for most of our evening activities, yet still creates shadowy areas in the corners. Instead, focus on the areas of your room and choose the kind of light they will need accordingly.
For example, these Dusk lamps from Hem hung just above a table will provide a soft, diffused light for your evening meal. Combine them with bright LED strip lighting above the countertops in your kitchen, so you can see clearly when you're preparing food, giving both practical and atmospheric light. Dusk lamps in Anthracite, €399, Hem.
Have lighting at different levels
Freestanding lighting is great for illuminating your room on more than one level, so whether you're sitting down or walking through, you have enough light. It's also great for preventing shadowy areas and making sure light is distributed through the whole space.
It tends to be more prominent than traditional ceiling lights, so make the most of this with interesting shapes and designs, like these Vetro floor and table lamps from Made.com. Their simple, elegant shape is unobtrusive yet beautiful, and their globe shapes give out light in multiple directions. Vetro floor lamp, around €134 and Vetro table lamp, around €55, both from Made.com.
Add warmth with candlelight
There's something room-changing about a lit candle. Maybe it's the flicker that gives a sense of life, or maybe it harkens back to when fire was key to our survival, but whatever the reason, adding candles to a room gives a warmth and cosiness like no other light.
If you have kids that are likely to knock them over, or are liable to forget to blow them out, this lantern-style floor lamp from Woo .Design will provide a similar warm glow, without less of a fire hazard than a naked flame. Sultans Home floor lamp, €179, Woo .Design.
Featured image: Bingley Brass Candlesticks, from around €18, Rowen & Wren